Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 CBF-NC General Assembly

Our General Assembly this year was a blast. This year marked the 16th year of CBF-NC. This year is also the last year that my mom helped with the setup of exhibits as she is rotating off of that committee next year.

If you haven't read them yet Tony Cartledge has two excellent postings on the 2010 CBF-NC General Assembly. Here is a snippet from the main posting---Baptists Today Blogs: CBFNC at "Sweet Sixteen":
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBFNC) celebrated its sixteenth year March 19-20 by affirming core partnerships, approving a record budget, and looking to a hopeful future. More than 950 persons packed the ornate, historic sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem for the opening session on Friday night, and the house was comfortably filled for the closing worship on Saturday morning.

Built on the theme "Generations Connected: One Family, One Faith, Many Journeys," the annual assembly recognized the founding generation of the CBF movement by hearing from from Cecil Sherman, CBF national's first coordinator, and gave attention to emerging generations with a closing message by Craig and Jennifer Janney, a young couple who serve as both ministers and instructors at Chowan University.

Sherman noted that the national Fellowship movement is now approaching 20 years of organized existence, and reflected on the importance of remembering how CBF emerged from a conflicted Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), even though some younger people "don't want to hear our war stories." Sherman related both the "face of conflict" from in an SBC overtaken by conservatism and credalism, and the "face of growth" that emerged as moderate Baptists coalesced around the historic principles they believed had been violated.

Although some early participants wanted CBF to focus on single issues, Sherman said, its early and continuing focus has been to provide a "missions delivery system for the churches" that defined missions as more than evangelism and church starts, to support Baptist theological education, and "to teach Baptist polity to people who have forgotten it or never knew it."

Sherman acknowledged that his generation will be off the stage as the next generation of CBF leadership emerges, but he advanced three ideas "that I hope some of you will keep in mind" as future decisions are made. "I hope you stay in touch with mainline Baptists," he said -- not just an elite group and big churches, but Baptists across the spectrum of size and locality. "If the decision makers know Baptists, they'll make good decisions," he said.

The second posting is about the presence of female ministers and female ministries within the CBF world in NC. Here is a snippet from that post:
There may be more, but the number of Anglo Baptist churches in North Carolina I know of who have women pastors can be counted on my fingers with some left over. A few others have women serving as co-pastors. There is no question that churches would be well served if there were more. The eleven moderate seminaries established in the past two decades have helped to train and prepare a number of God-called women for ministry roles -- including that of pastor -- but the churches willing to call them are few and far between. I know several women who are convinced of their call and standing ready to serve, but most of the churches willing even to consider them still conclude "We're just not ready for a female senior pastor."

In my more cynical moments, I think they're just chicken. There's no guarantee that all women pastors will be pulpit stars or effective leaders, but there are some real gems out there who could be, if they were just given a chance.

I've seen, and I believe.

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